Exploring the Energy Transition with Bob MacDonald | Wednesday 28th April

  • Thought Leadership

On Wednesday 28th April FWB Park Brown’s Aberdeen office hosted a virtual leadership forum. Bob MacDonald, Chair of energy storage, remote power generation and clean energy systems experts, EC-OG, spoke on the energy transition, followed by a Q&A facilitated by FWB Park Brown Director, John Cameron. The forum brought together 30 senior leaders from the energy sector, with representation from the professional services sector.

Bob opened the discussion by highlighting that the concept of the energy transition is not new, and throughout history as civilisation has developed, humanity has progressed from using wood, to coal, to oil and gas. What is novel about the current energy transition is the pace of change, as well as the rationale for that change. With globalisation, and digitalisation, solutions are being sought and developed quickly, in a highly competitive way. Despite this, and significantly, some large companies have been slow to take on these opportunities for change.

Despite the efforts being made in the North East, the region still generally maintains its stereotypical association with oil and gas. There are companies based in the North East at the forefront of significant change in terms of the energy transition, and others at the beginning of their journey. However, the concern remains that a number of companies have not yet adopted change and may be struggling to make those first steps. As well as this, there remains an education gap in terms of the skillset required for practically facilitating the energy transition. This shortage should be viewed as exciting, not daunting, and could open many opportunities up to the North East as a region where skills, resources and technologies remain a commodity for export. The world is changing quickly, and the North East and the wider UK need to be at the forefront to avoid becoming an importer of such amenities.

As well as this, there is evident disconnect between the rhetoric the energy transition exists upon, and the physical practicalities of the current infrastructure existing in Scotland. Public opinion is always a driver for the government and it is clear that the public are invested in productive change to provide a safe environment for generations to come. There is, however, a worry that the economical impact of the covid-19 pandemic could be far reaching and may impact the government’s capacity to invest substantially in this crucial period of change, a period where countries such as Australia are seeing significant growth and investment towards the energy transition. There is a gap in terms of funding, as well as from a policy perspective, focus on which could push the energy transition agenda in the right direction for the UK.

In Bob’s opinion, what we lack at the moment is a “conductor” to orchestrate the energy transition, aiding collaborative efforts in terms of research, development, funding opportunities and application of new technologies. A challenge which is exists is that many want to contribute to change, but there is no one entity who wishes to take the risk to lead this exciting opportunity.

The facilitated Q&A prompted a number of thought-provoking questions from attendees. The resounding message from the session was that more clarity is needed in terms of providing answers to facilitate the energy transition – we all know why change is needed, but we have not yet answered how that change will arrive.

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FWB Park Brown
FWB Park Brown continues to deliver its full range of services which includes providing support and advice during the Covid- 19 Public Health and developing global economic crisis.
We have established a range of cross sector as well as sector focused discussion forums for Chairs, NEDs, CEOs and all the main business management disciplines.  We are also working closely with the Scottish HR Leadership Group to provide constructive support including discussion forums and Q & As.
Summaries of the discussions will be posted on our news section and also on LinkedIn.
For further information about any of these forums please contact us via enquiries@fwbparkbrown.com

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